Anxious Modernisms: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture

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9780262072083: Anxious Modernisms: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture

The two decades after the Second World War are typically viewed as an inchoate interregnum between an expiring modernism and an incipient post-modernism. Yet this tidy narrative tells only half the story, leaving out a second development, an evolving and powerful modernism. The essays here reveal that a wide range of postwar architects and theorists—including Saarinen and Rudofsky in the United States; ATBAT-Afrique in Morocco; Price and the Smithsons in England; Bakema in Holland; and the Metabolists in Japan—were determined to renew rather than abandon the legacy of modernism.

Presenting new research, these essays analyze an individual or movement that grappled with modernism in response to developments within and outside the architectural profession. They reveal a nexus of pre-occupations that dominated discourse of the postwar era, including authenticity, place, individual freedom, and popular culture. In addition, the introduction and coda discuss the critical themes of postwar architecture and propose a framework for conceptualizing architectural modernism and its evolution after the war. Together, the book's essays remap the emerging field of postwar architectural studies, refocusing attention on modernist ideas and work that have had a critical, ongoing impact on architectural culture.

Copublished with the Canadian Centre for Architecture

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About the Author:

Sarah Williams Goldhagen is Assistant Professor of Architectural History at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

From Library Journal:

Viewing the intersection of architectural theory and practice, each of these 12 essays relates to one or more of editors Goldhagen (Graduate Sch. of Design, Harvard) and Legault's (CCA Study Ctr.) selected themes: the modern movement, popular culture and everyday life, anti-architecture, democratic freedom, homo ludens (the personal and psychological freedom to play), primitivism, authenticity, architecture's history, and regionalism or place. Covering both the Western European and North American fronts, the essays range in subject from Italian Neorealism to Paul Rudolph's Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College. Addressing the latter, Timothy M. Rohan not only points out the historical equation of ornament with decadence but also equates it, somewhat dubiously, with Rudolph's homosexuality. Sandy Isenstadt's essay on Richard Neutra's houses in Southern California integrates an examination of two of the architect's own publications, Survival Through Design and Mystery and Realities of the Site, with his attempts to provide a sense of nature through enclosure in his smaller houses. The essayists offer original ideas and stimulating insights on the nature of architectural thinking, even if they only occasionally elucidate the work itself. Recommended for larger architectural history and theory collections serving an upper-level readership. Paul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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